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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 30;8(9):e75279. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075279. eCollection 2013.

Parity and risk of colorectal cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Shengjing Hospital, China Medical University, Shenyang, China.



Association between parity and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk has been investigated by several epidemiological studies but results are controversial, yet a comprehensive and quantitative assessment of this association has not been reported so far.


Relevant published studies of parity and CRC were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science databases through end of April 2013. Two authors independently assessed eligibility and extracted data. Eleven prospective studies reported relative risk (RR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of CRC risk associated with parity. We pooled the RR from individual studies using fixed- or random-effects models and carried out heterogeneity and publication bias analyses.


The summary RR for the ever parity vs. nulliparous was 0.95 (95% CI: 0.88-1.02), with no heterogeneity (Q = 9.04, P = 0.443, I (2) = 0.5%). Likewise, no significant association was yielded for the highest vs. lowest parity number (RR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.89-1.17), with moderate heterogeneity (Q = 17.48, P = 0.094, I (2) = 37.1%). Dose-response analysis still indicated no effect of parity on CRC risk and the summary RR of per one livebirth was 0.99 (95% CI: 0.96-1.02), with moderate of heterogeneity (Q = 16.50, P<0.021, I (2) = 57.6%). Similar results were observed among all the subgroup analyses. No evidence of publication bias and significant heterogeneity between subgroups were detected by meta-regression analyses.


Results of this dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies found that there was little evidence of an association between parity and CRC risk.

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